(Editors note: This post is the first in a series of studies of The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis. Our Sunday-school of high-schoolers began this study about six weeks ago. We are taking one letter each Sunday, reading it out loud, and then commenting on it. Our main purpose has been, not to study the devil and his demons, but rather to study our own selves from a biblical perspective. Our emphasis is on the grace and mercy of God in justifying and sanctifying us through Jesus Christ our Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. Taken into class each Sunday, these lessons are mere outlines. I will make an effort to fill them out a bit before posting them here.)
Epigraphs: An epigraph is a quotation put at the beginning of a piece of literature, either at the beginning of a book, or chapter, that sets a tone or introduces a theme. The two epigraphs at the beginning of The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, are:
- “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” Luther
- “The devil . . the prowde spirite . . cannot endure to be mocked.” Thomas More
What do you think the tone o this book of “letters” will be? During the middle ages Christians depicted the devil as wearing red suit with horns and a tail, intending to mock him.
Parody: Parody is imitating something else usually for satirical (comic) effect. This style of literature’s main purpose is to have fun with a topic. Lewis depicts Hell as a parody of Heaven. How does the Bible describe Hell?
Background: These “letters” were written in England during the Second World War. The British people suffered greatly due to shortages due to rationing. They also suffered due to nightly bombing raids on English towns and cities by the German “blitzkrieg” or “lightning war”. By day the British could watch their airmen do battle with the German Luftwaffe over the skies of Britain in the Battle of Britain The odds were overwhelming with 640 British planes to 2600 German planes.
Screwtape Letter: Letter #1
materialist– Someone who considers material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values, or that nothing exists except matter.
naïf (naive)– Showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement.
jargon– Special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.
abominable– something greatly hated, causing moral revulsion.
athiest– Someone who does not believe in God.
aberrations– That which leaves the accepted norm, that which is unnatural and unwelcome.
logic– reasoning using strict rules of truth to prove something true or false, probable, or improbable.
1. Who is the “Enemy”?
2. Who is the “patient”?
3. What is meant by “…oh, that abominable advantage of the Enemy’s!”?
4. What are some realities that we cannot touch and see?
Next week: Screwtape Letter #2